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History of Art

Roshan Ali
Art is the process or product of deliberately and creatively arranging
elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions, especially beauty. In
its narrow sense, the word art most often refers specifically to the visual arts,
including media such as painting, sculpture, and printmaking. However, "the
arts" may also encompass a diverse range of human activities, creations, and
modes of expression, including music and literature. Aesthetics is the branch of
philosophy which studies art.
The definition and evaluation of art has become especially problematic since
the 20th century. Richard Wollheim distinguishes three approaches: the Realist,
whereby aesthetic quality is an absolute value independent of any human view;
the Objectivist, whereby it is also an absolute value, but is dependent on
general human experience; and the Relativist position, whereby it is not an
absolute value, but depends on, and varies with, the human experience of
different humans.
Traditionally the term art was used to refer to any skill or mastery. This
conception changed during the Romantic period, when art came to be seen as
"a special faculty of the human mind to be classified with religion and science".
Generally, art is a human activity, made with the intention of stimulating
thoughts and emotions. Beyond this description, there is no general agreed-
upon definition of art.
Painting vs Sculpture

2- Dimensional 3- Dimensional

Flat and textured surface The surface is constructed

Virtual dimensions- Subject can Real dimensions- Subject is
be represented by the size constructed of the actual size
desired only.
Comparing Indian Art and
Western Art
Indian Art Western Art

In Indian art emphasis is on In western art, for emphasis is on
spiritual world. the realistic world.

In western art, size is more
In Indian art there is a relation important.
between time and visuals.

Subject of the painting is given Only one thing is given importance,
importance but there are a lot of which forms the subject of the
other activities happening in the painting.
background, which also gets the
Western Art
Ancient and Classical Art
• Key dates: 15000 BC / 400 BC-200AD / 350 AD-450AD

• Ancient - There are few remaining examples with early art often favouring
drawing over colour. Work has been found recently in tombs, Egyptian frescoes,
pottery and metalwork.

• Classical - Relating to or from ancient Roman or Greek architecture and art.
Mainly concerned with geometry and symmetry rather than individual

• Byzantine - A religious art characterised by large domes, rounded arches and
mosaics from the eastern Roman Empire in the 4th Century.

In the visual arts the European movement called "neoclassicism" began after
A.D. 1765, as a reaction against both the surviving Baroque and Rococo styles,
and as a desire to return to the perceived "purity" of the arts of Rome, the more
vague perception ("ideal") of Ancient Greek arts, and, to a lesser extent, 16th
century Renaissance Classicism.
Neo-classical paintings are devoid of pastel colors and
haziness; instead, they have sharp colors with Chiaroscuro.
In the case of Neo-classicism in France, a prime example is
Jacques Louis David whose paintings often use Greek
elements to extol the French Revolution's virtues
(state before family).
Gothic Architecture
Originating in 12th-century France
and lasting into the 16th century,
Gothic architecture was known during
the period as "the French Style", with
the term Gothic first appearing during
the latter part of the Renaissance as a
stylistic insult. Its characteristic
features include the pointed arch, the
ribbed vault and the flying buttress.
Gothic architecture is most familiar as
the architecture of many of the great
cathedrals, abbeys and parish
churches of Europe. It is also the
architecture of many castles, palaces,
town halls, guild halls, universities,
and to a less prominent extent,
private dwellings.
Medieval Art
Medieval art in Europe grew out of the artistic heritage of the Roman
Empire and the legacy of the early Christian church. These sources were mixed with
the vigorous "Barbarian" artistic culture of Northern Europe to produce a remarkable
artistic legacy. Indeed the history of medieval art can be seen as the history of the
interplay between the elements of classical, early Christian and "pagan" art.
Medieval art covers a vast scope of time and place, over 1000 years of
art history in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. It includes major art
movements and periods, national and regional art, genres, revivals, the artists crafts,
and the artists themselves.
Art historians classify Medieval art into major periods and movements. They are
Early Christian art, Migration Period art, Celtic art, Byzantine art, Islamic art, Pre-
Romanesque and Romanesque art, and Gothic art. In addition each "nation" or
culture in the Middle Ages had its own distinct artistic style and these are looked at
individually, such as Anglo-Saxon art or Viking art. Medieval art includes many
mediums, and was especially strong in sculpture, Illuminated manuscripts and
mosaics. There were many unique genres of art, such as Crusade art or animal style.
Medieval Art

Michelangelo - “Pieta” – 1499
The Renaissance (from French
Renaissance, meaning "rebirth") was a
cultural movement that spanned roughly
the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in
Italy in the late Middle Ages and later
spreading to the rest of Europe.
As a cultural movement, it
encompassed a revival of learning based on
classical sources, the development of linear
perspective in painting, and gradual but
widespread educational reform.
Traditionally, this intellectual transformation
has resulted in the Renaissance being
viewed as a bridge between the Middle
Ages and the Modern era. It is perhaps best
known for its artistic developments and the
contributions of such polymaths as
Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, who
inspired the term "Renaissance men".
High Renaissance
The High Renaissance is widely viewed as the greatest explosion of creative genius
in history. It is notable for three of the greatest artists in history: Michelangelo
Buonarroti, Raphael Sanzio and Leonardo da Vinci.
The High Renaissance, in the history of art, denotes the culmination of
the art of the Italian Renaissance between 1450 and 1527. The movement was
centered in Rome.The paintings in the Vatican by Michelangelo and Raphael
represent the culmination of the style in painting. The style was introduced to
architecture by Donato Bramante, who in 1502 built the Tempietto, with its
majestic proportions signifying the full-scale revival of ancient Roman
architecture. High Renaissance sculpture, as exemplified by Michelangelo's
Pietà and David, is characterized by the ideal balance between statics and
movement. The serene mood and luminous colours of Giorgione and young
Titian exemplify the High Renaissance in Venice.
High is generally held to have emerged in the late 1490s, when Leonardo da
Vinci executed his Last Supper in Milan.
High Renaissance

The Last Supper by Leonardo Di Vinci

was an Italian
Renaissance painter,
sculptor, architect, poet
and engineer. Despite
making few forays
beyond the arts, his
versatility in the
disciplines he took up
was of such a high
order that he is often
considered a contender The Creation of Adam, Michelangelo's
for the title of the work in the Sistine Chapel.
archetypal Renaissance
man, along with his
rival and fellow Italian
Leonardo da Vinci.
Leonardo Di Ser Piero Da
Leonardo da Vinci (April 15, 1452
– May 2, 1519) was a Florentine
polymath, who worked as a scientist,
mathematician, engineer, inventor,
anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect,
botanist, musician and writer. His works,
the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, are
the most famous, most reproduced and
most parodied portrait and religious
painting of all time.
He is widely considered to be one
of the greatest painters of all time and
perhaps the most diversely talented
person ever to have lived, Leonardo has
often been described as the archetype of
the "Renaissance man", a man whose
seemingly infinite curiosity was equaled
only by his powers of invention.
Raphael Sanzio

Raphael Sanzio was an
Italian painter and architect of the
High Renaissance, celebrated for
the perfection and grace of his
paintings and drawings. Together
with Michelangelo and Leonardo
da Vinci, he forms the traditional
trinity of great masters of that

Self-portrait by Raphael Sanzio
Rococo is a style of 18th century
French art and interior design. Rococo rooms
were designed as total works of art with
elegant and ornate furniture, small sculptures,
ornamental mirrors, and tapestry
complementing architecture, reliefs, and wall
paintings. It was largely supplanted by the
Neoclassic style.
Due to Rococo love of shell-like
curves and focus on decorative arts, some
critics used the term to derogatively imply
that the style was frivolous or merely modish;
interestingly, when the term was first used in
English in about 1836, it was a colloquialism
meaning "old-fashioned". However, since the
mid 19th century, the term has been accepted
by art historians.
The Baroque was a Western cultural
commencing roughly at the beginning of the 17th
century in Rome, Italy. It was exemplified by drama
grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and
The aristocracy also saw the dramatic style of Baroque
architecture and art as a means of impressing visitors
and expressing triumphant power and control. Baroque
palaces are built around an entrance of courts, grand
staircases and reception rooms of sequentially
increasing opulence.

TAKING IT TOO FAR An Italian Baroque painting
of brotherly hate, Cain's killing of Abel.

In similar profusions of detail,
art, music, architecture, and
literature inspired each other in the
Baroque cultural movement as
artists explored what they could
create from repeated and varied
patterns. Some traits and aspects of
Baroque paintings that differentiate
this style from others are the
abundant amount of details, often
bright polychromy, less realistic
faces of subjects, and an overall
sense of awe, which was one of the
goals in Baroque art.
Characteristics of Baroque Art
 Baroque was a art form that communicated
religious themes.

 Baroque was a very dramatic style of art

 In this art form, details such as texture of skin
and cloth both are rendered with all detail.

 Baroque-era conceptions of monarchy,
iconography, handling of paint, and
compositions as well as the depiction of
space and movement.
The term modernism covers a
series of reforming movements in art,
architecture, music, literature and the
applied arts which emerged during this
period. Embracing change and the
present, modernism encompasses the
works of thinkers who rebelled against
nineteenth century academic and
historicist traditions, believing the
"traditional" forms of art, architecture,
literature, religious faith, social
organization and daily life were becoming
outdated; they directly confronted the
new economic, social and political
conditions of an emerging fully
industrialized world. Some divide the
twentieth century into movements
designated Modernism and
Postmodernism, whereas others see them
as two aspects of the same movement.

T he term postmodern is described by
Merriam-Webster as meaning either of,
relating to, or being an era after a modern one
or of, relating to, or being any of various
movements in reaction to modernism that are
typically characterized by a return to
traditional materials and forms (as in
architecture) or by ironic self-reference and
absurdity (as in literature), or finally of,
relating to, or being a theory that involves a
radical reappraisal of modern assumptions
about culture, identity, history, or language.
R ealism (sometimes called naturalism) in
the visual arts and literature is the depiction of
subjects as they appear in everyday life, without
embellishment or interpretation.
The term is also used to describe works of
art which, in revealing a truth, may emphasize the
ugly or sordid.
Realists render everyday characters,
situations, dilemmas, and objects, all in a "true-to-
life" manner. They tend to discard theatrical drama,
lofty subjects and classical forms of art in favor of
commonplace themes.
It is a visual art style that depicts the
actuality of what the eyes can see. Realists render
everyday characters, situations, dilemmas, and
objects, all in verisimilitude.

Jean-Francois Millet – “The Gleaners” – 1857. (Paris)

Impressionism was a 19th-century art
movement that began as a loose association of
Paris-based artists exhibiting their art publicly in
the 1860s. The name of the movement is derived
from the title of a Claude Monet work,
Impression, Sunrise which provoked a critic to
coin the term in a satiric review.
Characteristics of Impressionist painting include
visible brush strokes, open composition,
emphasis on light in its changing qualities (often
accentuating the effects of the passage of time),
ordinary subject matter, the inclusion of
movement as a crucial element of human
perception and experience, and unusual visual

Claude Monet – “Impression, soliel levant” –
1872 (oil on canvas).
Impressionism Techniques
o Painting in the evening to get the
shadowy effects of the light in the
evening or twilight.
o Impressionist paintings do not exploit
the transparency of thin paint films
(glazes) which earlier artists built up
carefully to produce effects. The surface
of an Impressionist painting is typically
o The play of natural light is emphasized.
Close attention is paid to the reflection
of colours from object to object.
o In paintings made outdoors, shadows
are boldly painted with the blue of the
sky as it is reflected onto surfaces,
giving a sense of freshness and
openness that was not captured in
painting previously. (Blue shadows on
snow inspired the technique.)

Background painting by Alfred sisley – 1872 – “Bridge at
Impressionism Techniques

o Painting realistic scenes of modern life, they emphasized
vivid overall effects rather than details. They used short,
"broken" brush strokes of pure and unmixed colour, not
smoothly blended, as was customary, in order to achieve
the effect of intense colour vibration.
o Short, thick strokes of paint are used to quickly capture
the essence of the subject, rather than its details.
o Colours are applied side-by-side with as little mixing as
possible, creating a vibrant surface. The optical mixing
of colours occurs in the eye of the viewer.
o Grays and dark tones are produced by mixing
complementary colors. In pure Impressionism the use of
black paint is avoided.
o Wet paint is placed into wet paint without waiting for
successive applications to dry, producing softer edges
and an intermingling of colour.
Post Impressionism
Post-Impressionism is the term coined
by the British artist and art critic Roger Fry in
1910 to describe the development of French art
since Manet (One of the first nineteenth century
artists to approach modern-life subjects, he was a
pivotal figure in the transition from Realism to
Post-Impressionists extended
Impressionism while rejecting its limitations: they
continued using vivid colours, thick application of
paint, distinctive brushstrokes and real-life
subject matter, but they were more inclined to
emphasize geometric forms, to distort form for
expressive effect, and to use unnatural or
arbitrary colour.

“Portrait of Emile Bernard” – 1886 – by Henri de Toulous
(Tate Gallery London)
Cubism was a 20th century art
movement, pioneered by Pablo Picasso and
Georges Braque. The first branch of cubism, known
as Analytic Cubism, was both radical and
influential as a short but highly significant art
movement between 1908 and 1911 in France. In
its second phase, Synthetic Cubism, (using
synthetic materials in the art) the movement
spread and remained vital until around 1919.
In cubist artworks, objects are broken up,
analyzed, and re-assembled in an abstracted form
—instead of depicting objects from one viewpoint,
the artist depicts the subject from a multitude of
viewpoints to represent the subject in a greater
context. Often the surfaces intersect at seemingly
random angles, removing a coherent sense of
depth. The background and object planes
interpenetrate one another to create the shallow
ambiguous space, one of cubism's distinct

Georges Braque – “Woman with a guitar” – 1913.
Analytic Cubism

Analytic Cubism is one of
the two major branches of the artistic
movement of Cubism and was
developed between 1908 and 1912.
Analytic cubists "analyzed" natural
forms and reduced the forms into
basic geometric parts on the two-
dimensional picture plane. Colour was
almost non-existent except for the
use of a monochromatic scheme that
often included grey, blue and ochre.
Instead of an emphasis on colour,
Analytic cubists focused on forms like
the cylinder, sphere and the cone to
represent the natural world.

Pablo Picasso, “le guitariste” – 1910.
Synthetic Cubism
Synthetic Cubism was the second main
branch of Cubism developed by Picasso, Braque,
Juan Gris and others between 1912 and 1919. It
was seen as the first time that collage had been
made as a fine art work. Newspaper clippings
were a common inclusion in this style of cubism,
whereby physical pieces of newspaper, sheet
music, or the like were included in the collages.

Whereas analytic cubism was an analysis of the
subjects (pulling them apart into planes),
synthetic cubism is more of a pushing of several
objects together. Picasso, through this movement,
was the first to use text in his artwork (to flatten
the space), and the use of mixed media—using
more than one type of medium in the same piece.
Opposed to analytic cubism, synthetic cubism has
fewer planar shifts, and less shading, creating
flatter space.

‘Nature morte à la chaise cannée’ – Pablo Picasso
Les Fauves (French for The
Wild Beasts) were a short-lived and
loose grouping of early 20th century
Modern artists whose works
emphasized painterly qualities and
strong colour over the representational
values retained by Impressionism.
While Fauvism as a style
began around 1900 and continued
beyond 1910, the movement as such
lasted only three years, 1905–1907,
and had three exhibitions. The leaders
of the movement were Henri Matisse
and André Derain
The paintings of the Fauves
were characterised by seemingly wild
brush work and strident colours, while
their subject matter had a high degree “Portrait of Madame Matisse (the green line)” – Henri
of simplification and abstraction. Matisse – 1905.
Expressionism is the tendency of an artist
to distort reality for an emotional
effect; it is a subjective art form.
Expressionism is exhibited in many art
forms, including painting, literature,
theatre, film, architecture and music.
The term often implies emotional angst. In
a general sense, painters such as
Matthias Grünewald and El Greco can
be called expressionist, though in
practice, the term is applied mainly to
20th century works.
Although it is used as term of reference,
there has never been a distinct
movement that called itself
The term is usually linked to paintings and
graphic work in Germany at the turn of
the century which challenged the
“On white II” – 1923 by Wassily Kandinsky (German) academic traditions.
Neo Expressionism
Neo-expressionism was a style of
modern painting that emerged in the late
1970s and dominated the art market until the
mid-1980s. Neo-expressionists returned to
portraying recognizable objects, such as the
human body (although sometimes in a
virtually abstract manner), in a rough and
violently emotional way using vivid colours
and banal colour harmonies. Overtly inspired
by the so-called German Expressionist
painters--Emil Nolde, Max Beckmann, George
Grosz--and other emotive artist such as James
Ensor and Edvard Munch. Neo-expressionists
were sometimes called Neue Wilde ('The new
wild ones'; 'New Fauves' would better meet
the meaning of the term).
Abstract Expressionism
Abstract expressionism was an American post–
World War II art movement. It was the first
specifically American movement to achieve
worldwide influence and also the one that put
New York City at the center of the art world, a
role formerly filled by Paris.
Although the term "abstract expressionism" was
first applied to American art in 1946, it had
been first used in Germany in 1919 in a
magazine, regarding German Expressionism.
In the USA this term was first used in 1929 in
relation to works by Wassily Kandinsky.
In this form of art there is an emphasis on
spontaneous, automatic or subconscious

“No. 5” in 1948 by Jackson Pollock
Abstract Art
Abstract art uses a visual language of form, color
and line to create a composition which exists
independently of visual references to the world.
Western art had been, from the Renaissance up to
the middle of the 19th century, underpinned by
the logic of perspective and an attempt to
reproduce an illusion of visible reality. The arts of
cultures other than the European had become
accessible and showed alternative ways to the
artist, of describing visual experience.
By the end of the 19th century many artists felt a
need to create a 'new kind of art' which would
encompass the fundamental changes taking
place in technology, science and philosophy. The
sources from which individual artists drew their
theoretical arguments were diverse, and
reflected the social and intellectual turmoil in all
areas of Western culture at that time.

Barnett Newman – “Onement 1” – 1948
(Museum Of Modern Art – New York)
Pop Art

Pop art is a visual art movement, that
emerged in the mid 1950’s in
Britain, and the late 1950’s in the
United States.
It challenges tradition by asserting
that an artist's use of the mass-
produced visual commodities of
popular culture is contiguous with
the perspective of fine art since
Pop removes the material from its
context and isolates the object, or
combines it with other objects, for
contemplation. The concept of
Pop Art refers not as much to the
art itself as to the attitudes that
Eduardo Paolozzi - “I was a rich man’s
led to it.
plaything” - 1947
Pop Art
The origins of Pop art in
America and Great Britain developed
slightly differently. In America, it
marked a return to hard-edged
composition and representational art
as a response by artists using
impersonal, mundane reality, irony and
parody to diffuse the personal
symbolism and ″painterly looseness” of
abstract expressionism.
American Pop Artist Roy
Lichtenstein’s work probably defines
the basic premise of Pop Art better
than any other through parody.
Selecting the old-fashioned comic strip
as subject matter, he produces a hard-
edged, precise composition that
documents while it parodies in a soft
manner. His paintings share a direct
attachment to the commonplace image
of American popular culture, but also
treat the subject in an impersonal
manner clearly illustrating the
idealization of mass production.
Roy Lichtenstein. Drowning Girl (1963). On display at
the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
OP Art

Op art, also known as optical
art, is a genre of visual art,
especially painting, that makes use
of optical illusions.
Op art is also known as
geometric abstraction and hard-
edge abstraction, although the
preferred term for it is perceptual
It is a method of painting
concerning the interaction between
illusion and picture plane, between
understanding and seeing. Op art
works are abstract, with many of
the better known pieces made in
only black and white. When the
viewer looks at them, the
impression is given of movement,
“Cataract 3” - Bridget Riley –
hidden images, flashing and
1967. vibration, patterns, or alternatively,
of swelling or warping.
OP Art

Minimalism describes movements in
various forms of art and design, especially visual
arts and music, where the work is stripped down
to its most fundamental features.
As a specific movement in the arts it is
identified with developments in post-World War II
Western Art, most strongly with American visual
arts in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Prominent
artists associated with this movement include
Donald Judd, Agnes Martin, Robert Morris, and
Frank Stella. It is rooted in the reductive aspects of
Modernism, and is often interpreted as a reaction
against Abstract Expressionism and a bridge to
Postmodern art practices.

An art work by Piet Mondrian – “Composition
No. 10”. Oil on Canvas.
Conceptual Art
Conceptual art is art in which the concept(s) or
idea(s) involved in the work take precedence
over traditional aesthetic and material concerns.
Many of the works of the artist Sol LeWitt may be
constructed by anyone simply by following a set
of written instructions.This method was
fundamental to LeWitt's definition of Conceptual
art, one of the first to appear in print:
“ In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most
important aspect of the work. When an artist
uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of
the planning and decisions are made beforehand
and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The
idea becomes a machine that makes the art. –
Sol LeWitt, "Paragraphs on Conceptual Art",
Artforum, June 1967.
Conceptual art is an art which questions the very
nature of what is understood as art.

Joseph Kosuth – “One and three chairs” - 1965
Mannerism is a period of
European art which emerged from the
later years of the Italian High Renaissance
around 1520. It lasted until about 1580 in
Italy, when a more Baroque style began to
replace it, but continued into the
seventeenth century throughout much of
Europe. Stylistically, Mannerism
encompasses a variety of approaches
influenced by, and reacting to, the
harmonious ideals and restrained
naturalism associated with artists such as
Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and early
Michelangelo. Mannerism is notable for its
intellectual sophistication as well as its
artificial (as opposed to naturalistic)

Mannerism makes itself known by
elongated proportions, highly stylized
poses, and lack of clear perspective.
Symbolism was a late 19th century art movement
of French and Belgian origin in poetry and
other arts
Symbolists believed that art should aim to capture
more absolute truths which could only be
accessed by indirect methods.
The Symbolist painters mined mythology and
dream imagery for a visual language of the
soul, seeking evocative paintings that brought
to mind a static world of silence. The symbols
used in Symbolism are not the familiar
emblems of mainstream iconography but
intensely personal, private, obscure and
ambiguous references. More a philosophy than
an actual style of art, the Symbolist painters
influenced the contemporary Art Nouveau
movement and The Nabis.

Above: “La mort du fossoyeur” ("The death of the gravedigger") by Carlos Schwabe -
1895 is a visual summary of Symbolist motifs. Death, angels, pristine snow, and the
dramatic poses of the characters all express Symbolist longings for transfiguration
"anywhere, out of the world."
Romanticism is a complex artistic, literary, and
intellectual movement that originated in the
second half of the 18th century in Western
Europe, and gained strength during the
Industrial Revolution. It was partly a revolt
against aristocratic social and political
norms of the Age of Enlightenment and a
reaction against the scientific rationalization
of nature, and was embodied most strongly
in the visual arts, music, and literature.
The movement stressed strong emotion as a
source of aesthetic experience, placing new
emphasis on such emotions as trepidation,
horror and awe—especially that which is
experienced in confronting the sublimity of
untamed nature and its picturesque
qualities, both new aesthetic categories. It
elevated folk art and custom to something

Caspar David Friedrich, “Wanderer above the Sea of Fog” -1818,
(Oil on canvas)
Arts and Crafts Movement
Key Dates: 1850s
The Victorian style of heavily ornamented
interiors displaying many pieces of
furniture, collections of small ornamental
objects, and surfaces covered with
fringed cloths prevailed in middle-class
homes in England and America during the
latter half of the 19th century.
Techniques of mass production promoted the
use of reproductions in many different
styles. William Morris, the British poet,
artist and architect rejected this opulence
in favor of simplicity, good craftsmanship,
and good design and the Arts & Crafts
Movement was born.
This sought to reestablish the ties between
beautiful work and the worker, returning
to an honesty in design not to be found in
mass-produced items. Architecture,
furniture, and the decorative arts became
the focus of the movement. 
Art Deco
I t is an art movement involving
a mix of modern decorative art styles,
largely of the 1920s and 1930s, whose
main characteristics were derived from
various avant-garde painting styles of
the early twentieth century.
Art deco works exhibit aspects of
Cubism, Russian Constructivism and
Italian Futurism-- with abstraction,
distortion, and simplification,
particularly geometric shapes and
highly intense colors--celebrating the
rise of commerce, technology, and
It was popularly considered to
be an elegant style of cool
sophistication in architecture and
applied arts which range from luxurious
objects made from exotic material to
mass produced, streamlined items
available to a growing middle class.
Art Nouveau
The Art Nouveau movement occurred
in the late 19th century from about 1894 to
1914, and was represented in Europe as well as
in the United States.
In each country “Art Nouveau” had a
different meaning and identity, and artists were
often piqued against each other in defining the
art period.
It is the avant-garde movement of
the period in reaction to historical and academic
perspectives. Art Nouveau artists wished to blur
the lines between famous and minor artists, and
unifying all arts, and unifying art with everyday
human life – in essence, the art of the period
became part of the architecture, placards, and
jewelry in an attempt to combine life and art.
Art Nouveau is characterized by its elegant
decorative style, detailed patterns, curving
lines, and art innovation
Aschan School
A group of urban realist painters
in America during the early part of 20th
century, founded by the artist and teacher
Robert Henri, began its activities in
Philadelphia around 1891.
The Ash Can School was more
revolutionary in its subject matter rather than
its style. The Ash Can school artists sought to
paint "real life" and urban reality. These
artists believed what was real and true in life
was what was beautiful and what constituted
"art." They painted gritty urban scenes and
the poor and disenfranchised in America.
These paintings have a loose and
spontaneous style, very different from the
polished techniques taught in the American
art academies of the period. A rapid handling
of the paint left individual brushstrokes and
the paint was applied thickly. Ash Can
painters used a dark, subdued palette.
Key Dates: 1919-1930s
It is a school of art, design and
architecture founded in Germany in 1919.
Bauhaus style is characterized by its severely
economic, geometric design and by its respect for
The Bauhaus school was created when
Walter Gropius was appointed head of two art
schools in Weimar and united them in one. He
coined the term Bauhaus as an inversion of
'Hausbau' - house construction.
Teaching at the school concentrated on functional
It was closed by the Nazis in 1933. The
school had some illustrious names among it's
teachers, including Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger,
Wassily Kandinsky, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and
Marcel Breuer. Its influence in design of
architecture, furniture, typography and weaving
has lasted to this day - the look of the modern
environment is almost unthinkable without it.
Black Mount College
Key Dates: 1933-1950s
Black Mountain College was an independent
education experiment of “education in a democracy”
established in 1933 but closed in 1956.
The college founders believed that creative arts
and daily responsibilities were equal factors in the
development of a person’s intellect. The faculty and
students worked on a farm, did maintenance, served
meals, and constructed buildings – no extracurricular
activities or sports were organized as it was felt that
there should be no distinction between work and play.
Black Mountain College was the first American
college, although experimental, to have complete
democratic self rule as well as extensive creative artwork
and interdisciplinary academic study.
Bloomsbury Group

The Bloomsbury group was basically
a group of like minded friends with a 'common
attitude to life', many of whom had first met at
Trinity College, Cambridge at the turn of the
From 1904 onwards they met
regularly in Bloomsbury, London. Thoby and
his sisters, Vanessa and Virginia, (later to
become Bell and Woolf), and brother Adrian
hosted 'at homes' when they and their friends
indulged in free conversations about art,
literature and philosophy.
‘Bloomsbury' has become
synonymous with both literary and artistic
styles, as well as with economic theory and
'Portrait of Mrs Hammersley' – 1937 psychology.
Duncan Grant The Bloomsbury artists Vanessa
Bell, Roger Fry and Duncan Grant were greatly
influenced by the Post Impressionists and their
painting celebrates the sensuous beauty of
everyday domestic surroundings.
Key Dates: 1915-1940s

It was a movement created by
the Russian avant-garde, but quickly
spread to the rest of the continent.
Constructivist art is committed to
complete abstraction with a devotion
to modernity, where themes are often
geometric, experimental and rarely
emotional. Objective forms carrying
universal meaning were far more
suitable to the movement than
subjective or individualistic forms.
Constructivist themes are also quite
minimal, where the artwork is broken
down to its most basic elements.
Famous artists of the Constructivist
movement include Vladimir Tatlin,
Kasimir Malevich, Alexandra Exter,
Model for the 3rd International
Robert Adams, and El Lissitzky.
Tower, 1919-1920 -Vladimir Tatlin
The Der Blaue Reiter movement was a German
expressionist art period lasting from 1911 to
The movement was led by Kadinsky, Klee, Marc, and
Macke – a group of expressionist artists greatly
influenced by the Brucke artists of the previous
decade – the Der Blaue Reiter did not believe in
the main objective of the Brucke movement
(simply focusing on one group of artists).
These artists attempted to find spiritual truths that
they felt impressionists had not conveyed. The
art movement was not stylistically unified as
demonstrated by the range of pure abstractions
created by Kadinsky versus the romantic images
of Marc. They believed in changeability, new
ideas, and the mixing of different ideas of
spirituality and art.
The Hudson River School was comprised of a group of painters who
created realistic, romanticized works, particularly in New York’s
Hudson River Valley. Led by Thomas Cole, other artists in the School
chose subject matter such as the lakes, gorges, and forests of the
Catskill and Adirondack Mountains. Despite these influences, one of
the School’s goals was to ignore overseas traditions in order to create
a distinctive concept of American art.
The movement began in 1825. Seeing the sacred aspects of the natural
environment became an aim amongst the Hudson River School. The
Hudson River School artists promoted the idea that God and nature
were one.
Hudson River School paintings were often panoramic views done in a
romantic, somewhat realist style. They suggested an atmosphere of
serenity and meditation. The artists used the effects of light to depict
dramatic landscapes, particularly of sunsets and water. This technique
became known as Luminism. Artists using this technique wished to
portray emotions through the bold contrasts between light and dark.
Key Dates:1909-1944

An Italian avant-garde art movement that took speed,
technology and modernity as its inspiration, Futurism
portrayed the dynamic character of 20th century life,
glorified war and the machine age, and favoured the
growth of Fascism.
The idea of Futurism came first, followed by a fanfare of
publicity; it was only afterwards that artists could find
a means to express it.
Painters in this movement had a serious intent. Their aim
was to portray sensations as a "synthesis of what one
remembers and of what one sees", and to capture
what they called the 'force lines' of objects.
The futurists' representation of forms in motion influenced
many painters and movements as Cubism.
This movement was originally founded in 1848 by
Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais. The name
was decided upon as the group aimed to
rediscover the painting styles of artists working
earlier than the time of Raphael. The group
specialised in detailed studies of medieval scenes
strong on elaborate symbolism and noble themes.
After Millais' 'Ophelia' (1850-1851) was exhibited to
great acclaim at the Academy Exhibition, the
group dissolved.
Rossetti, together with William Morris and Edward
Burne-Jones formed an alternative Brotherhood
based in Oxford, specialising in the depiction of
pale, ethereal beauties, while Millais and Hunt
went their separate ways but continued working
according to the original ideas of the movement.

La Fileuse (1874)
An international movement among European artists and writers
between 1915 and 1922, characterised by a spirit of anarchic
revolt. Dada revelled in absurdity, and emphasised the role of
the unpredictable in artistic creation.
It began in Zürich with the French poet Tristan Tzara thrusting a
penknife into the pages of a dictionary to randomly find a name
for the movement. This act in itself displays the importance of
chance in Dada art. Irreverence was another key feature: in one
of Dada's most notorious exhibitions, organised by Max Ernst,
axes were provided for visitors to smash the works on show.
While perhaps seeming flippant on the surface, the Dada artists
were actually fuelled by disillusionment and moral outrage at
the unprecedented carnage of World War One, and the ultimate
aim of the movement was to shock people out of complacency.
The movement had a strong influence on Pop Art, which was
sometimes called neo-Dada.
Key dates: 1950s

Influenced in the late fifties and early
sixties by the great Florida naturalist,
A.E. "Beanie" Backus, the black
artists, along with others, used
canvasboard, upson board, masonite
and canvas to paint on creating
dramatically powerful, yet serene,
"Florida scapes".
This artwork was sold by the artists
themselves while traveling up and
down the highways, primarily along
the eastern seaboard, during the last
forty years.
Situationists originated in a small band of
avante-garde artists and intellectuals
influenced by Dada, Surrealism and
Lettrism. The post-war Lettrist
International, which sought to fuse
poetry and music and transform the
urban landscape, was a direct
forerunner of the group who founded
the magazine 'Situationiste
Internationale' in 1957. At first, they
were principally concerned with the
"suppression of art", that is to say,
they wished like the Dadaists and the
Surrealists before them to supersede
the categorization of art and culture as
separate activities and to transform
them into part of everyday life
It is an art movement advocating pure
abstraction and simplicity-- form reduced
to the rectangle and other geometric
shapes, and colour to the primary
colours, along with black and white.
Piet Mondrian was the group's leading figure.
Another member, painter Theo van
Doesberg had started a journal named De
Stijl in 1917, which continued publication
until 1928, spreading the theories of the
group, which also included the painter
George Vantongerloo along with the
architects J.J.P. Oud and Gerrit Rietveld
Their work exerted tremendous influence on
the Bauhaus and the International Style.
Fluxus—a name taken from a Latin word
meaning "to flow"—is an international
network of artists, composers and
designers noted for blending different
artistic media and disciplines in the
1960s. They have been active in Neo-
Dada noise music and visual art as
well as literature, urban planning,
architecture, and design. Fluxus
encouraged a do it yourself aesthetic,
and valued simplicity over complexity.
In terms of an artistic approach, Fluxus
artists preferred to work with whatever
materials were at hand, and either
created their own work or collaborated
in the creation process with their
It is a literary and art movement, dedicated to
expressing the imagination as revealed in
dreams, free of the conscious control of reason
and convention. Surrealism inherited its anti-
rationalist sensibility from Dada, but was lighter
in spirit than that movement. Like Dada, it was
shaped by emerging theories on our perception
of reality.
Founded in Paris in 1924 by André Breton with his
Manifesto of Surrealism, the movement's
principal aim was 'to resolve the previously
contradictory conditions of dream and reality into
an absolute reality, a super-reality‘.
The major artists of the movement were Salvador
Dali, Max Ernst, René Magritte and Joan Miró.
Surrealism's impact on popular culture can still be
felt today, most visibly in advertising.
The Group of Seven Artists began in the early 1900s
when several Canadian Artists began noticing a
similarity in style. Canadian Painters Tom Thomson,
J.E.H. MacDonald, Arthur Lismer, Frederick Varley,
Frank Johnston and Franklin Carmichael were often
believed to have socialised together through
common interests and mutual employment.
In 1920, the group put on their first exhibit and formerly
called themselves the Group of Seven. The artists
included were J.E.H. MacDonald, Franklin
Carmichael, Frank Johnston, Arthur Lismer, Lawren
S. Harris, Frederick Varley and A.Y. Jackson.
During the 1920s, the group established itself as
uniquely Canadian in style. They are historically
recognized as the first group of European descent to
capture the feel of the Arctic on canvas.
Key Dates: 1888-1899

A Parisian group of Post-Impressionist
artists and illustrators who became
very influential within the field of
graphic art.
Their emphasis on design was shared by
the parallel Art Nouveau movement.
Both groups also had close ties to the
The core of Les Nabis was Pierre Bonnard,
Maurice Denis, Ker Xavier Roussel, Félix
Vallotton, and Édouard Vuillard. 
Pahari Paintings are literally, paintings
from the hills of India.
The Rajput kings ruled in the sub-
Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh.
They were great art-lovers. It is under
their patronage that the Pahari
painting flourished from the 17th to
the 19th century.
The breathtaking landscapes of the
mountain ranges inspired artists. And
they made these the backdrop of their
paintings. These paintings are mainly
in the miniature style.
The Pahari painting underwent a lot of
modification during its life time. It’s
development can broadly be classified
into three distinct schools: Basohli,
Guler-Kangra and Sikh.
Rajput painting, a style of Indian painting, evolved and
flourished during the 18th century in the royal courts of
Rajputana, flowing from the style of Mughal Painting, itself
derived from the Persian Miniature. Each Rajput kingdom
evolved a distinct style, but with certain common features.
Rajput paintings depict a number of themes, events of epics
like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, Krishna’s life,
beautiful landscapes, and humans. Miniatures in
manuscripts or single sheets to be kept in albums were the
preferred medium of Rajput painting, but many paintings
were done on the walls of palaces, inner chambers of the
forts, havelis, particularly, the havelis, forts and palaces built
by Shekhawat Rajputs.
The colours extracted from certain minerals, plant sources,
conch shells, and were even derived by processing precious
stones. Gold and silver were used. The preparation of
desired colours was a lengthy process, sometimes taking
weeks. Brushes used were very fine.
Raja Ravi Verma
He was an Indian painter who achieved recognition for his depiction of scenes from
the epics of the Mahabharata and Ramayana. Raja Ravi Varma became famous
after he won an award for an exhibition of his paintings at Vienna in 1873. He
travelled throughout India in search of subjects. He often modelled female
deities of the Hindu pantheon, on the exquisitely beautiful and attractive women
he saw around him. Ravi Varma is particularly noted for his paintings depicting
episodes from the story of Dushyanta and Shakuntala, Nala and Damayanti,
from the Mahabharata.
Ravi Varma's depiction of mythological characters has become a part of the Indian
art heritage. It is also known as calender art He was – and still is – criticized for
being too showy and sentimental in his style. Nevertheless, his work remains
quite popular and highly sought after. He is most remembered for his paintings
of beautiful sari clad women, who were portrayed as very shapely and graceful.
His paintings are considered to be among the best examples of the fusion of
Indian traditions with the techniques of European academic art.
Calendar Art by Raja Ravi
Tantra is The Art of Philosophy.
Tantra has developed a system of thought which
makes us see the universe as if it were
within ourselves, and ourselves as if we were
within the universe.
Further the forces governing the cosmos on the
macro-level are believed to govern the
individual in the micro-level.
According to tantra, the individual being and
universal being are one. Thus all that exists
in the universe must also exist in the
individual body.
The way to fulfillment is through recognition of
our wholeness linking man and the universe.
This hence is the broad aim of Tantra art,
achieved through visual symbols and
Encompassing its whole pictorial range,
Tantric imagery can be broadly
grouped under three heads:
Geometrical representation of deities as
Representation of the Human Body as a
Symbol of the Universe
Iconographic images
The art which has evolved out of tantra
reveals an abundant variety of forms,
varied inflections of tone and colors,
graphic patterns, powerful symbols
with personal and universal
It is especially intended to convey a
knowledge evoking a higher level of
perception, and tapping dormant
sources of our awareness.
The earliest extant Jain miniature paintings are
associated with palm-leaf manuscripts, and
their wooden book-covers came into use from
the 11th century.
Quite often the paintings on the book-covers
(PATLIS) were much superior to the paintings
done on manuscripts.
The palm-leaf folios generally represented hieratic
characters like Tirthankaras, monks etc,
whereas the paintings on the PATLIS (book
covers) freely portrayed non-iconic subjects
such as birds, animals etc.
As the manuscripts were confined to Gujarat and
Rajasthan, the miniatures are referred to as
having been executed in the Western Indian
style of painting. Some of the early paintings
show great beauty and plasticity.

A Jain miniature painting. The 23rd
Tirthankara, Parsvanath, is always shown
seated under serpent hoods. 
The Elephanta Caves are a  great tourist
attraction in the vicinity of the large
Mumbai meteropolis.
These caves house rock cut temples dating
back to the 5th century CE.
This rock cut temples were created by
carving out rock, and creating the
columns, the internal spaces and the
The entire temple is akin to a huge
sculpture, through whose corridors and
chambers one can walk.
The entire complex was created through a
process of rock removal. Some of the
rock surfaces are highly finished while
some are untreated bare rock.
This form of expression is not pursued like
detached speculation to achieve mere
aesthetic delight, but has a deeper
Apart from aesthetic value, its real
significance lies in its content, the
meaning it conveys, and the philosophy
of life it unravels.
In this sense tantra art is visual

Dancing Skanda, Saptamatr shrine,
At Ajanta paintings are all over the cave
except for the floor.
At various places the art work has become
eroded due to decay and human
The painted narratives of the Jataka tales are
depicted only on the walls, which
demanded the special attention of the
The process of painting involved several
stages. The first step was to chisel the
rock surface, to make it rough enough to
hold the plaster. The plaster was made of
clay, hay, dung and lime.
The colors were referred to as 'earth colors'
or 'vegetable colors.' Various kinds of
stones, minerals, and plants were used in
combinations to prepare different colors.
Folk and tribal art in India takes on
different manifestations through varied
medium such as pottery, painting,
metalwork, paper-art, weaving and
designing of artifacts such as jewellery
and toys.
Often puranic gods and legends are
transformed into contemporary forms
and familiar images.
It is an art where life and creativity are
Folk art also includes the visual
expressions of the wandering nomads. The Sun Temple, Madhvi Parekh(1999)
Mughal painting is a particular style of Indian
painting, generally confined to illustrations on the
book and done in miniatures, and which emerged,
developed and took shape during the period of the
Mughal Empire (16th-19th centuries).
As the Mughal kings wanted visual records of their
deeds as hunters and conquerors, their artists
accompanied them on military expeditions or
missions of state, or recorded their prowess as
animal slayers, or depicted them in the great
dynastic ceremonies of marriages.
Brilliant red, blue and green predominate; the pink,
eroded rocks and the vegetation, planes and
blossoming plum and peach trees are reminiscent
of Persia. However, Indian tones appear in later
work when Indian artists were employed.
The very mention of Mughal paintings
evokes stylized images of richly draped
figures involved in various court
activities. Though there is very little
regard for realism, these paintings
capture ones imagination because of
their unique style and selection of
The popular perception of Mughal paintings
is not altogether an unfounded one,
these Paintings hardly follow the
dictum of realism in style but their
themes are as true to its period as
possible. In fact they can be seen as
the most substantial specimens of their
A blend of the Indian and the Persian style,
these paintings depicted various
themes. From scenes of a Mughal court
to lovers in intimate positions, the
themes were both informative and

A 17th century Mughal painting.
At the time when the Company artists
were painting for the British public in
India in Western technique, a school of
painting combining Indian and Western
influences emerged at Kalighat.
From around 1809, when the present Kali
Temple was built, Kalighat began to
draw more and more pilgrims from
allover Bengal and elsewhere. To this
growing centre of trade gathered the
patuas or the hereditary scroll-painters
from different parts of lower Bengal to
make paintings, icons and coloured
toys which the pilgrims bought as
auspicious souvenirs to take back to
their homes.
They painted on cheap unglued mill-made
paper, used chemical paints with home-
ground colours and adopted water
colour in place of the time consuming
gouache and tempera.
Finally, they used lightening quick flowing
lines that became the hall-mark of the
Kalighat paintings along with their
abstract symbolism, formalized
structure and simple composition.
A special feature of Kalighat School is that
it developed a vigorous secular aspect
that gives its paintings their
international appeal though one should
not minimize the beauty and virtuosity
of its religious and epical paintings
The Bengal School of Art was an influential style of art that
flourished in India during the British Raj in the early 20th
century. It was associated with Indian nationalism, but was
also promoted and supported by many British arts
The Bengal school arose as an avant garde and nationalist
movement reacting against the academic art styles
previously promoted in India, both by Indian artists such as
Ravi Varma and in British art schools.
The Bengal school's influence in India declined with the spread
of modernist ideas in the 1920s.
However Bengal continues to produce some of the best artists
of modern India. Among them the best known artists of
present day Bengal are Ganesh Pyne, Bikash Bhattacharya,
Devajyoti Ray and Paresh Maiti.

The Calcutta Group was the first group of
modern artists in India
It was formed in 1943 in Kolkata.
Its leading members included the sculptor
Pradosh Das Gupta and the painters
Paritosh Sen, Gopal Ghose, Nirode
Mazumdar and Zainul Abedin.
The group held exhibitions from 1945, and
held a joint exhibition in 1950 with the
Progressive Artists' Group in Bombay
(which became more influential).
This was the last phase in the
development of the Pahari painting.
It was not as refined as the former
It was apparent that this painting from
the hills of India was quietly withdrawing
from the stage of Indian Art.
In the second quarter of the 18th century,
the Basohli style underwent a significant
change. A new school of Pahari painting
developed in the Guler and Kangra area,
and increasingly gained popularity. This
style was characterized by:
1.A certain toning down of the former
exuberance. The paintings acquired a lyrical
2.An expansion of the color palette. Artists
in this style did not use the smoldering
colors of the Basohli school. They adopted
various shades of the primary colors and
used delicate and fresher hues. For
The family of Shiva on Mount Kailasa. Guler instance, the a light pink color was used on
style, early 19th century. the upper hills to indicate distance.
3.The foliage depicted was now more vast
and varied. This was made noticeable by
the multiple shades of green used to signify
4.The most popular themes were the stories
and antics of Krishna.
The early stage of development of the Pahari
painting started in the mid 17th century. It is in
the style of the Basohli school. Pahari paintings
in this style are characterized by:
1. Brilliant colours. The background is bright red,
yellow, green or brown usually.
2. A sense of perspective is achieved by the pigmy
3. The sky is merely indicated. It is usually a narrow
strip in the horizon.
4. Figures with distinct facial features such as fish-
shaped elongated eyes or large expressive lotus-
shaped eyes, round chins, prominent noses, oval
faces, receding foreheads
5. Two-dimensional architectural constructions,
crowned with pavilions or domes.
6. Popular themes are: portraits of local rulers and
the Hindu gods and figures from Hindu
A lovelorn lady and a peacock.Basohli style, late mythology.
18th century from the Karan Singh Collection

• Company style or Company painting is
a term for a hybrid Indo-European
style of paintings made in India by
Indian artists many of whom worked
for European patrons in the British
East India Company or other foreign
Companies in the 18th and 19th
• The style blended traditional elements
from Rajput and Mughal painting with
a more Western treatment of
perspective, volume and recession.
Women in a Brothel, Company style, Northern
• Most paintings were small, reflecting India, 1800-25, opaque watercolor and gold on
the Indian miniature tradition, but the paper, 26 x 31.2 cm. San Diego Museum of Art
natural history paintings of plants and
birds were usually life size.

• Madhvi, who has situated herself in the space
of contemporary art practice, reverts for
inspiration, from time to time, to her
childhood village left far behind.
• Madhvi Parekh's images of fantasy and
childhood memories, spread over her entire
work, have this iconic-symbolic quality.
• Madhvi was not trained in an art school but it
is not that she has had no exposure to the
world of modern art or to new materials and

The Boy From Mauritius (Water Color, 1999)

Art works by Yamini Sharma
• he began to come under the influence of Mughal art, making
a number of works based on the life of Krishna in a Mughal-
influenced style.
• After meeting E.B. Havell, Tagore worked with him to
revitalise and redefine art teaching at the Calcutta School of
art, a project also supported by his brother Gaganendranath,
who set up the Indian Society of Oriental Art.
• Abanindranath Tagore (August 7, 1871 - December 5, 1951),
was the principal artist of the Bengal school and the first
major exponent of swadeshi values in Indian art. He was also
a noted writer.
• Tagore sought to modernize Moghul and Rajput traditions in
order to counter the influence of Western models of art, as
taught in Art Schools under the British Raj.
• Tagore believed that Western art was "materialistic" in
character, and that India needed to return to its own
traditions in order to recover spiritual values.
• Tagore believed that Indian traditions could be adapted to
express these new values, and to promote a progressive
Indian national culture.

Bharat Mata by Abanindranath Tagore

Gaganendranath Tagore
(September 18, 1867--1938) was an Indian
painter and cartoonist of the Bengal school.
He belongs to the Tagore family and was born at
Along with his brother Abanindranath Tagore, he
was counted as one of the earliest modern
artists in India.
He was a nephew of Nobel Prize winning poet
Rabindranath Tagore
Amrita Sher-Gil was an eminent Indian painter, sometimes known as
India's Frida Kahlo.
Today considered an important women painter of 21st century India.
Her whose legacy stands at par with that of the Masters of Bengal
She is also the 'most expensive' woman painter of India.
Today, she is amongst Nine Masters, whose work was declared as art
treasures by The Archaeological Survey of India, in 1976 and 1979.
The Government of India has declared her works as National Art Treasures.
Most of them are housed in the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi.
A postage stamp depicting her painting 'Hill Women' was released in 1978 in India.
A road in Lutyens' Delhi, was named after her, Amrita Shergill Marg
• Tyeb Mehta is an Indian artist from Mumbai.
• He holds the record for the highest price an Indian painting
has ever sold in a public auction ($317,500 USD or 15
million Indian rupees) for Celebration at Christie's in 2002.
• He received the Padma Bhushan award in 2007.
• Apart from several solo exhibitions Mehta has participated
in international shows like Ten Contemporary Indian
Painters at Trenton in the U.S. in 1965
• Mehta's preoccupation with formalist means of expression
have led to matt surfaces, broken with diagonals and
imagery which while expressing a deep anguish is
specifically painterly.
Mahishasura, Oil on Canvas(1996)
Thank You